And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.…
Note here —
I. THE MASTER OF ALL RESOURCES MAKING USE OF NATURAL MEANS IN CONNECTION WITH A STUPENDOUS MIRACLE. Jesus showed Himself superior to natural laws, yet up to the highest point possible He made use of natural means on the way to His glorious end. He might have ascended from the valley, but since He made hills so much nearer heaven, He would not neglect the benefit of His own creation. He who could always have walked on the sea did so but once, and He to whom the highest mountains are but valleys would walk up a hill to ascend into heaven. This should teach us to bless God for means when we have them, and to trust Him for means when we have them not.
II. THE GREAT MASTER GOING TO HIS REST WHEN HIS WORK WAS DONE. He had overcome, and must therefore now go to His throne. He had shown His sovereign power over the sea by walking on it and making it pay His tribute; over the earth by raising the dead and forsaking His own tomb; over hell by conquering Satan; and He must now show His power over the air by a local ascending into heaven.
III. CHRIST SERVED BY OTHER BEINGS THAN MEN. The cloud might be a multitude of heavenly attendants. Certainly celestial messengers instructed the apostles about "this same Jesus." How great is His dignity who has such servants, and what an honour to serve Him.
IV. THAT EVEN CHRISTIAN CONTEMPLATION MUST BE REGULATED WITH REFERENCE TO OTHER DUTIES. It was but natural that the disciples should gaze after Jesus; but the angel's word called them off from an object engrossing and delightful to their work. To neglect the shop for the prayer-meeting, to allow your cattle to hunger that you may hear a sermon, to make private devotion an excuse for refusing to visit the sick and needy, is what God cannot bless; and when a Christian is called from such dangerous ways he ought to feel deeply grateful.
V. THAT THE ASCENSION IS A PATTERN OF THE SECOND ADVENT. It will be —
2. With clouds.
3. With angelic attendants.
Parallel VersesKJV: And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.